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A Big Week For Secession Talk In Colorado

Grace Hood

Off-year elections aren’t known for excitement. But frustrations around everything from gun control legislation to a growing rural-urban divide in Colorado will make for some interesting debate this fall.

The movement for forming a 51st state has been moving forward with seven counties so far in eastern Colorado having decided to put the question in front of local voters.

The Denver Post reports that both Logan and Washington county commissioners voted Tuesday to put a secession question on the November ballot. They join Phillips, Cheyenne, Yuma and Sedgwick which have already passed ballot issues.

Meantime, Weld County Commissioners voted Monday to put the question on the ballot.

Kit Carson County Commissioners are expected to vote on the topic Wednesday. Moffat County commissioners are reportedly also weighing the topic.

The move prompted The Denver Post to publish its second editorial on the topic, calling for an end to secession talk.

"They're all motivated by similar frustrations, by people feeling they're not being heard..."

Overall, the county ballot issues will be largely symbolic, asking whether county officials should pursue the topic further. As we’ve previously reported, forming a new state out of Colorado would need approval from both the Colorado legislature and both chambers of U.S. Congress.

Colorado State University adjunct history professor Derek Everett noted in that interview that there’s something very real in the 51st state talk that needs to be vented:

“They’re all motivated by similar frustrations, by people feeling they’re not being heard, and whatever political or economic issues that dominate the state don’t speak to their local concerns,” said Everett.

But there may be a bitter irony to the whole political exercise for counties.

Everett says that if counties were to be successful — a huge long shot — and break away from the state of Colorado, the federal government may not consider them capable of operating as a state.

“They’d become a territory – and that would mean that the President would appoint the governor, would appoint the judges… My guess is that the federal government treating these counties as a colony would probably be even less satisfactory than being part of Colorado,” said Everett.

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